A self-serving statement is a piece of documentary evidence which may be submitted during immigration appeals and is usually a statement given by a family member. However, self-serving statements are often given little or no weight. Yet, the judgement in the case of R (on the application of SS) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (“self-serving statements”)  UKUT 00164 (IAC) (“R (on the application of SS) v SSHD”) could potentially pave the way for more weight to be given to the submission of self-serving statements during immigration appeals.
The Background of R (on the application of SS) v SSHD
The Applicant is a Sri Lankan national who entered the UK on 11 November 2009 and made a claim for asylum. The SSHD refused this claim on 4 December 2009, as well as the subsequent appeal on 18 February 2010. The Applicant proceeded to make two further submissions on 6 May 2010 and 15 September 2015, both of which were too rejected.
The Applicant challenged the SSDH’s decision dated 18 September 2015 which rejected his further submissions and refused to treat them as a fresh asylum or human rights claim. He Applicant submitted that if he were to have to return to Sri Lanka, his life would be in danger prior as to him seeking asylum in the UK, the Applicant was detained by the Sri Lankan Navy on suspicion of being a member of the LTTE like his brother; who had died fighting for them.
Since the Applicant has been in the UK, the Applicant’s family have been harassed by the Sri Lankan authorities demanding to know where the Applicant was and to get him to return to Sri Lanka. On one occasion, the Applicant’s father was arrested and taken to a military camp and subject to interrogation for 3 days. During his detention, the Applicant’s father had also been beaten.
The Judgement in R (on the application of SS) v SSHD
In his immigration appeal, the Applicant submitted a letter from his father which stated the circumstances in Sri Lanka and that if he was to return his life would be at risk. The SSHD deemed this evidence as a self-serving statement and more or less dismissed it and used it against the Applicant.
Paragraph 31 of the judgement states that;
“In the present case, the reasons given in the decision letter for the father’s letter being regarded as self-serving are because “it is from your father and does not demonstrate how you as in individual will face fear or persecution upon your return to Sri Lanka.”
The SSHD’s decision was labelled ill-founded as the father’s letter in fact described events that clearly demonstrated that the Applicant’s life would be at real risk if he were to return to his area. The judgement stressed that evidence must be properly considered and emphasised that a statement from a family member is capable of bearing weight.
What Does This Mean for Applicants Submitting Self-Serving Statements during Immigration Appeals?
The judgement concluded that that the SSHD’s handling of this case was flawed and that the dismissal of the Applicant’s father’s letter as being a self-serving statement was incorrect. This could mean that future Applicants, who wish to submit self-serving statements as essential evidence during immigration appeals, may not be as unfairly treated and have the statement dismissed. It is important to seek professional legal advice, such as from our team of specialist immigration solicitors, before submitting an immigration appeal.
The full judgment can be accessed here: R (on the application of SS) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (“self-serving” statements)  UKUT 00164 (IAC) LEXVISA Solicitors and Barristers
Using Legal Representation to Submit Self-Serving Statements in Immigration Appeals
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit self-serving statements in immigration appeals.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your immigration appeal succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules and your immigration appeal succeeds.
Successful Immigration Appeals Using Self-Serving Statements
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration appeal before your matter even reaches the immigration tribunals and service. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration appeal and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
Our offices are located in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to a successful immigration appeal. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.